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In 2005, The StFX Service Learning program received its second five-year grant from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. The StFX McConnell grant was part of a national strategy the McConnell Foundation undertook to develop and support the delivery of service learning at Canadian universities. The McConnell Foundation saw its commitment to service learning as part of its broader mandate to fund projects in Canada that foster citizen engagement and build resilient communities. The McConnell Foundation supported service learning initiatives at ten universities around the country and also supported the Canadian Alliance for Community Service Learning.
At StFX, the McConnell grant supported the project Community-University Partnerships in Service Learning: Enhancing the Pedagogy of Engagement
The Enhancement project had three goals:
- Improved Support for Community Partners
The grant allowed us to implement strategies which made it easier and more effective for community partners to participate in service learning. The main initiative of this project was the Service Learning Student Leadership project. Each year we continue to hire a staff students who take a direct role in the operation of the program, particularly in the community.
- Evaluation of the Impact of Service Learning
Through this strand of the project we developed and implemented an evaluation tool to assess the impact of service learning from the perspective of our community partners. We continue to share these findings both nationally and internationally.
- Faculty Development
We are undertook a number of strategies to support faculty members as they learn about service learning and decide whether to use service learning pedagogy in their classes. This strand of the project involved the dispersal of grants through the Faculty Development and Research Support Fund and the coordination of faculty development events.
To find out more about the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and its commitment to service learning in Canada, visit its website.